Haggling, Updated (and a Giveaway!)

by Marinka on February 2, 2009

Scary Mommy, OHMommy, A Southern Fairy Tale and I are doing our first ever joint giveaway and it’s a doozy! Check out the EZ to Read and Understand Rulez here! Go and read so that you don’t fuck it up.
In honor of the giveway, I am recycling, and updating with new annotations(!), my haggling post from last year. Because that’s the green thing to do.

This is how New York Magazine suggests you go about haggling, and I’m throwing in my annotations, absolutely free of charge!

1. Don’t be ashamed. You can haggle anywhere, anytime—even at the doctor’s office.

Why not haggle when you get on a bus? If the driver insists that you pay the full fare, try to extract something from him in a “swap”, like a cigarette or a loose button.
2. Stay cool.
Haggling is about bluffing; if you show weakness or nerves, the salesperson will know you’re going to fold.

Throw an ice cube down your pants before entering the store. An ice cube that you haggled out of an unsuspecting vendor.
3. Be prepared to leave empty-handed.
If you must have an item, you’ll accept a higher price. Often, walking away will get the absolute lowest offer.

Leaving empty-handed is the ultimate money saver, I’ve found.
4. Use charm.
Haggling is a personal interaction. If you make the sales clerk complicit in the game, he’ll be more willing to play.

I don’t like how this discriminates against the charm-free.

5. Pay cash.
The seller will usually knock off the sales tax, or more. But carry small bills.

I am keeping my original annotation for this, which is that I think this is called “tax evasion”. Stay tuned for New York Magazine‘s next feature– “Plea Bargaining Tips”.

6. Do market research.
Almost everyone price-matches these days.

Also, feel free to lie about what your market research reveals. It’s not like you’re given sworn testimony.

7. Read the sales tags.
Brazen hagglers will rifle through a rack in search of the one item that’s mispriced low, then demand the store honor the tag.

Regardless of whether they actually want the item or not.

8. Ask when it goes on sale.
The clerk might offer to put it aside for you. Or, if you ask to be called come sale time, it could be marked down then and there, just for you.
When you find out that it goes on sale in a week, offer to chain yourself to the rack until then. And I hope that I don’t have to spell out what I mean by “rack”.

Don’t forget about the giveaway! Leave a comment and then visit A Southern Fairy Tale, Scary Mommy and OHMommy!

One year ago ...

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

brown eyed girl February 2, 2009 at 6:09 am

Oooh, I’d like to enter the contest!


Domestic Extraordinaire February 2, 2009 at 6:15 am

very excited about this contest & about discovering your blog. I will be back :O)


Ann's Rants February 2, 2009 at 6:20 am

Yes, I agree…what about the charm-less. Great giveaway!


Cindy February 2, 2009 at 6:30 am

Thanks for the tips!


Joanie February 2, 2009 at 6:36 am

Terrific tips!


Swistle February 2, 2009 at 6:41 am

Oh hai! I am entering.


Christy February 2, 2009 at 6:44 am

I suck at haggling because I can never stay cool (#2). I get nervous and smile and a lot and probably even end up paying more than the asking price because I’m so antsy.


Doublebanker February 2, 2009 at 6:45 am

Can I haggle my way into this giveaway? I’ll give you 4 comments and a link back for the win 🙂

Cats walk on water?


Belle February 2, 2009 at 6:45 am

Thanks for the tips. My children are always complaining that I don’t know the difference between haggling and blackmail.


Irish Gumbo February 2, 2009 at 6:51 am

Awesome, practical and amusing tips! Thank you, Marinka!

BTW, what did you mean by ‘rack’? What am I not getting? 🙂


VerWaynia February 2, 2009 at 6:57 am

I could definitely use a new wardrobe and I love to haggle!


Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub February 2, 2009 at 6:59 am

Ha! I started reading your blog right around the time you posted this last year…. ah, the memories!

I still think that was a ridiculous article. Seriously, haggling at Saks?


Smart A$$ Mom February 2, 2009 at 7:08 am

And I have the added bonus of knowing exactly what facial expressions you probably made while answering those questions! Which makes it even funnier.


Julie B. February 2, 2009 at 7:10 am

That’s great! I love #5…before I even read your comment I was thinking the samet thing to myself…I can’t believe they printed that:) (and please enter me)


Tari February 2, 2009 at 7:20 am

Please please give a small town girl a chance to live big!!! Let me dress like a grown up!!!!


*Akilah Sakai* February 2, 2009 at 7:25 am

I never haggle, but my Hubster is a haggling-whore when it comes to buying electronics. He gets some great deals!


Amy - playhereoften.com February 2, 2009 at 7:28 am

I am far too chicken to haggle and not above asking my husband to haggle for me, so I will be sure to pass along these tips to him!


Head Nut February 2, 2009 at 7:31 am

entering contest….NOW


Comedy Goddess February 2, 2009 at 7:35 am

Oh Marinka, you give the best advice! I am so inspired by your ever present sense of savoir faire. If only I could be more like you!
Have a great day! Your deserve the best!


Blessings From Above February 2, 2009 at 7:48 am

Found you through OHMommy. Very cool contest!

Great haggling tips, your added antedotes are hilarious! 🙂


Deb February 2, 2009 at 7:57 am

I’m in I’m in I’m in!!!!! Pick me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and I just chained myself to my rack. Great. I wish I had read on.


♥georgie♥ February 2, 2009 at 8:01 am

LOL…too funny…I have been tryin to ‘haggle’ not sawyer for years no one wants him 😉


Krissi February 2, 2009 at 8:11 am

I cannot wait to win this contest! I never win anything and well this one… it has my name all over it 🙂


Hailey February 2, 2009 at 8:11 am

I can’t wait to see who the winner of this contest is!!! I’m so excited!!


peajaye February 2, 2009 at 8:11 am

not to be a stickler for details, but i just clicked over to your “rulez” pozt (is z the new s?) for your contest, and the post is dated thurs., jan. 31, 2008. does that mean the prize a time machine?


koopermom February 2, 2009 at 8:23 am

I am too chicken to haggle!! Great giveaway, can’t wait to get to know you all better!


K February 2, 2009 at 8:33 am

So…the whole haggle with the doctor thing is blowing my mind.

Do you haggle before you see the doctor or after… because before see a bad idea. Might get what you pay for if you know what I mean.


Heinous February 2, 2009 at 8:35 am

I can’t bring myself to haggle. It seems like so much effort. I’d have to hire someone to do it for me, but that would be counter productive, I think.


mo.stoneskin February 2, 2009 at 8:41 am

Tell you what, you come over here, try haggling with one of our bus drivers.

Let me know how it goes.


Alecia February 2, 2009 at 8:46 am

i’m so happy you guys are hosting a joint giveaway i could use a shopping spree.


Blue February 2, 2009 at 8:48 am

so let’s get it started…..how many joints are you giving away? oh wait, maybe that’s not what you meant.


Kari February 2, 2009 at 8:51 am

I want to WIN!!!!!!!


Anonymous February 2, 2009 at 8:56 am

I love your blog! I hope I win!!



Mary Moore February 2, 2009 at 8:58 am

I want to win! I want to win!

My husband is the best haggler I know. He was well known in Mexico for his haggling, and all the vendors would hide. :o)


Kate Coveny Hood February 2, 2009 at 8:58 am

The most incredible amount of haggling I’ve ever seen done was at the open air markets in Beijing. My traveling companions would heatedly argue knock of Calvin Klein men’s breifs down from the equivalent of $2 to $1.50. No one could understand why I was so willing to give up at $2. I mean – in about 10 minutes of haggling, I could save myself FIFTY WHOLE CENTS. I have no excuse for my attitude other than laziness, disinterest and oh yeah a GRIP ON REALITY!


kelly b February 2, 2009 at 8:59 am

i wanna be the winner, i wanna be the winner! ooohhh ooohhh!!!!!! pick me. pick me.


Elisabeth February 2, 2009 at 9:03 am

I haggle once in a while.


PsychMamma February 2, 2009 at 9:04 am

I’m horrible at haggling, so I’m always prepared for number three. The good news is that I save a lot of money that way. 🙂

Great giveaway! Thanks for the chance to enter!


Renny February 2, 2009 at 9:12 am

I think you guys are great! Here is my hoping I win!!!


Amber February 2, 2009 at 9:13 am

Ohhh…pick me, pick me!!


Simply AnonyMom February 2, 2009 at 9:23 am

what a great giveaway you are participating in. THank you.


Amy February 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

Awesome contest!! I hope to win…I could really use an updated look!


tyfamilyadventures February 2, 2009 at 9:51 am

count me in for the giveaway…


Tiffany February 2, 2009 at 9:53 am

OMG, my husband is the KING of haggling. He tries to haggle EVERYthing. Just this weekend he got 10% off at Lowes because he found the one item that had some blue staining on it. Although I appreciate the deals he gets, sometimes I want to run away and act like I don’t know him!!!!


phd in yogurtry February 2, 2009 at 9:56 am

These are all good, but I suppose I will have to leave my house and actually shop to see if they work, huh?


Nissa February 2, 2009 at 9:59 am

#3 is one of my faves…because don’t you know that 30% off still equals 70% on?


Payton February 2, 2009 at 10:03 am

Too funny =)
Although as a former cashier, I can tell you — it’s not appreciated. Especially you charm-less people, taking all the fun out of it.


Alex and Ashley February 2, 2009 at 10:07 am

If I ever tried to haggle I would end up crying and probably be banned from the place! But somehow my kids haggle me and usually win…


SCREAMING FOR CHOCOLATE February 2, 2009 at 10:08 am

Love gift…gift cards. Yes…



Jeanne February 2, 2009 at 10:12 am

Thank you for the annotation on #4. As a charm-challenged person, I find I am often discriminated against (and rarely get any sympathy because, let’s face it, who gives a shit about the charm-impaired?).


skiplovey February 2, 2009 at 10:30 am

#8 hee hee.

Love the giveaway idea, truly fabulous!


Shel February 2, 2009 at 10:47 am

Oh my God…I love your blog because you say fuck. Am I allowed to leave that word in the comments? I’ve been deathly afraid of dropped an F-bomb on my blog for fear of offending someone although if you met me in real life, you’d wonder why my children don’t pepper every sentence they utter with it. I thought there was some written rule about mom-blogs and the f-word, so I haven’t actually typed it out for fear the mom-blog-police would come and take away my keyboard.

That being said, I’m a horrible haggler but my grandmother is the queen of the haggle..I once watched her beat a sales clerk into giving her a discount on a lawnmower because the one she really wanted was sold out and the one she was getting was a floor model. I’m planning on taking her 86 year-old ass with me when I go to buy a new car.


TMCPhoto February 2, 2009 at 10:49 am

I’ve never been able to haggle properly. the one and only time I managed it, I talked them down to the price they had originally told my husband was their lowest.


Heather February 2, 2009 at 10:54 am

I can’t haggle at all – in fact I think I end up paying higher prices.


Coffee with Cathy February 2, 2009 at 11:06 am

I will never feel guilty about recycling an old blogging post or column again. I never saw the “green” connection until you pointed it out. Thank you!


Momo Fali February 2, 2009 at 11:06 am

I really have to try that leaving empty handed thing.


CelticBuffy February 2, 2009 at 11:19 am

The contest sounds great! And I have never been able to open my mouth and haggle. It’s something I need to learn.


Steph February 2, 2009 at 11:21 am

So excited about the contest! And about trying out these new haggling techniques haha


Herb of Grace February 2, 2009 at 11:37 am

My grandmother was the queen of hagglers, back in the day… I like to think I inherited some of her spirit 🙂


The Mom February 2, 2009 at 11:58 am

I need a new wardrobe before Stacy and Clinton come and take me away!…Well, that wouldn’t be bad either! 😉 Thanks for the chance!


The Thompson's February 2, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Sign me up!


Qweenie February 2, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I love to haggle! We haven’t paid asking price for a car or house in 10 years…LOL

Please enter me in the giveaway too please!!PLEASE!


Andrea's Sweet Life February 2, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I make my husband to the haggling for me, although I imagine him haggling over the price of a pair of panties might not go over so well.


mommynotes February 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for the contest! I hope I win. Love the picture on your blog of the snow and carriage. I love ohmommy and now I have some new blogs to check out.



The White House February 2, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I am excited to get out of these maternity clothes and into some new lovely clothes courtesy of YOU!


Jessica February 2, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Love the shopping idea and love adding a new read to my morning coffee routine 🙂


Sara February 2, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Your side note on #3 is the best! What a money saving idea – LOL.


Nicole February 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Um sorry I don’t haggle. I’m horrible at it and I feel like a total ass when I do it. On the other hand I am always up for a contest!

Good luck everyone!


Sophie, Inzaburbs February 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm

This is my Monday comment. I don’t ever read Marinka’s blog, I am only here because I want to win.


Melissa February 2, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Ugh. Can’t haggle. That’s why spouse buys the cars.

Oh, and I need those gift cards, btw…because my fat ass isn’t so fat anymore and I need new clothes!


Miss M February 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I need, I mean want to win your giveaway. Delurking to win 🙂


The Dental Maven February 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Count me in.


heartatpreschool February 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I’ll recycle my comment to this post too…

My husband will never let me forget the time I paid full price $5 US dollars for a stupid Christmas ornament at a Mexican flea market.


Mindi February 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

So excited about your contest…. do lame comments hurt my chances of winning? I always want to say something cleaver, but it ends up lame…


mom2tot February 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I want to win!


Trenches of Mommyhood February 2, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I am DETERMINED to win this awesome prize!


Alicia February 2, 2009 at 2:59 pm

What an awesome contest!


stephanie s. February 2, 2009 at 3:23 pm

I like this post!


Sarah February 2, 2009 at 3:48 pm

I’d like to enter, please!


darsden February 2, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Ooooh I love contest…sssh don’t tell anybody else..Pick Me!!


Rosie&James February 2, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I can see it now “$10,000 for open heart surgery? You must be crazy! $250 and a gift card to Starbucks, that’s my final offer.”


peapodsquadmom February 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm

count me in!


TattooedMinivanMom February 2, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Speaking of racks, can I get some tips on haggling for a new one? My knees can’t see anything these days.

I realize you thoroughly explained the giveaway in great detail with an excellent and informative faq section, however, I have yet another question. Please don’t shoot me if you’ve already answered it and I missed it. I take it that your comments are closed at the end of each day???


Elisa February 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Stores will actually call you to alert you when the item is on sale? I had no idea. No way they’d do that in Europe! They already roll their eyes when you return something – because God forbid you change your mind about a pricey item you realize you don’t need, right? So obnoxious.

I dare you to come visit when I move back to Switzerland and haggle with the store clerks in Zurich 😉


Scott February 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm

See, I don’t know about this haggling thing. My mom is really good at it, so that would make me like her. I don’t like the sound of that. Bue I do like the sound of 10% more off at Loehmans.
Fine, I’m in.

p.s. I’m a Scary Mommy devotee, it makes me a better person and calories don’t stick.

Scott in Tennessee


Michelle February 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm

I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for this awesome giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win!


iMommy February 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Haggling is hard. How bought I just shop at Old Navy and we call it even?


Jen February 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm

what a great contest you ladies are doing please count me in.


C and C Mommy February 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm

I want to win!! PLEASE!!


jill jill bo bill February 2, 2009 at 7:25 pm

I haggle like no other. And I found you through Vodka Mom. You are hilarious. Enter me in the contest and I swear I will stop kissing ass. Only of you want tho.


aimee February 2, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Pick me!!


Elizabeth February 2, 2009 at 8:08 pm



Elaine A. February 2, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Thanks for the haggling tips! I like #6.

Please enter me in your very generous giveaway too! : )


heather February 2, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Oh great tips, but even better contest! Enter me!


TheScrappyMama February 2, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Please pick me! I am in desperate need of wardrobe help.

Love your blog!


MIT Mommy February 2, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Alright, I’m playing.


Kris Loves Chocolate February 2, 2009 at 9:16 pm

I am not a good haggler, however, for #1 I did beg and get on a bus for free in Mexico when I spent all my money at a market and realized I had no bus fair back to the resort.
Hope I win.


beck'sthree February 2, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Does all that haggling make one an old hag?


P.K. February 2, 2009 at 9:39 pm

OK, I’m not the least bit interested in haggling. Furthermore, I’m not interested in your contest because the only one of those places in my hick town is Starbucks, and guess what? I don’t even like coffee!

This announcement, though, should make me very popular with the rest of your readers!


Lee the MWOB Queen February 2, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I don’t even have to enter the contest. My reward has already come to me in the form of these haggling tips with your funny commentary.

Plus the rules of your contest did scare me and I’m generally afraid to play.

(I hope you know I’m kidding and that you consider this a friggin’ entry.)

Funny stuff here – first time and I may be hooked. We’ll see.


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